They Had Me at the First Song
They had me at the first song: “Let It Rise.”
The song was the “hello” (à la Renée Zellweger’s character in the movie “Jerry Maguire”) to my soul that captured it and reminded me of the glorious wonder of music and members giving praise that must rise to our God. The 100+ member choir was made up of vocalists from many churches in the area of different ethnicities and denominations … but all of whom were fully devoted followers of Jesus Christ. Our own Jodie Gee, Joyce Lin and Veronica Mak were part of the choir; and Elsa Yao shared a quote in the worship service for everyone to consider. Everyone on the stage expressed beautiful harmony that went beyond musical categories and indeed the spiritual category of oneness among believers as Jesus had prayed for us in John 17.
My family and I were blessed to be part of the Come.Unity worship service on January 19, 2017, at North Dallas Community Bible Fellowship. I was also given the special opportunity to be on the panel discussion in the middle of the service. We answered questions such as:
- How did Dr. King and the civil rights movement affect you personally and ethnically as a group?
- Why do you think churches segregate themselves ethnically? What are the pros and cons?
- Ethnic churches are created around a common narrative and understanding of life. What do you believe is an overarching narrative of your ethnic church, and how does the Gospel speak into it?
- How then does ethnic reconciliation occur in the church?
I was freaking out about being on this panel. I mean, who am I to be a voice in the racial reconciliation problem? For most of my life, up until July 7, 2016, I thought that the problem of racial division was a matter between whites and blacks. Added to that, we Asians tend to be insular and focused on making our “American dream” come true: make sure our kids go to good colleges, get good jobs and support us parents when we’re older (payback, right?).
Of course, that’s not the way the Bible teaches us about WHO is to be involved in the enmity between all ethnic groups and HOW the world will take notice of the true solution/Savior for the brokenness in the world that is so clearly evident.
- WHO is to be involved: It’s those who are recipients of His redeeming and transforming grace, grace that not only reconciled us to God but also to one another. It’s the CHURCH who’s to be involved! [Ephesians 2:14-16]
- HOW the world will take notice: When the CHURCH (as a collective whole) comes together—not just having joint worship services but joined lives in worship and service—the world will take notice that our unity is something the world can’t manufacture or even understand on their own apart from Jesus Himself. [John 17:23]
May our prayers for unity—not just within the AABC family but the big C “Church” as a whole—be anchored in Jesus’ amazing and steadfast love for all of us!